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White House weighs in university presidents' remarks at antisemitism hearing: 'Unbelievable' 

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The White House on Wednesday scolded the presidents of Harvard University, the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) for their responses a day earlier at a House on antisemitism hearing.  

Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) asked all the presidents if a call for the genocide of Jewish people would be considered harassment under their campus policies.  

None of the trio directly answered the question, saying it would need to be investigated by the school or depended on the context and how pervasive the calls were.  

“It’s unbelievable that this needs to be said: Calls for genocide are monstrous and antithetical to everything we represent as a country,” White House spokesperson Andrew Bates said.  

“Any statements that advocate for the systematic murder of Jews are dangerous and revolting – and we should all stand firmly against them, on the side of human dignity and the most basic values that unite us as Americans,” Bates added.  

Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre later on Wednesday said that calls for genocide “unacceptable” and “vile,” adding that if someone who worked in the administration made comments like that, they would be called out

“Statements that advocate for the systemic murder of Jews are appalling and we should all stand against them,” she said. “I should not have to be saying this at the podium.”

The schools have faced widespread backlash for the comments, with Republican presidential candidate and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley threatening to pull the schools’ tax-exempt status.

Harvard has tried to backtrack with a new statement from President Claudine Gay clarifying her position on the issue.  

“There are some who have confused a right to free expression with the idea that Harvard will condone calls for violence against Jewish students. Let me be clear: Calls for violence or genocide against the Jewish community, or any religious or ethnic group are vile, they have no place at Harvard, and those who threaten our Jewish students will be held to account,” Gay said. 

The Hill has reached out to UPenn and MIT for comment.  

—Alex Gangitano contributed. Updated at 4:07 p.m.


Source: The Hill

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